Ever since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987 at the young age of seventeen, I had to learn to “depend” on others instead of being “Ms. Independent.” I would have never gotten through my exacerbations (attacks) as easily if it weren’t for my courageous, strong, and inspiring mom, Georgia, who helped me get through day-to-day life with the simple things we all take for granted in our lives. I remember back when I was in high school, thinking I was really heavy. All the kids used to laugh at me and call me names like “thunder thighs,” “lard ass,” “big ass” . . . you name it, they called me it. I was embarrassed when it was PE time, I didn’t want to put those skimpy little shorts on, you know the ones back in the ’80s that barely covered your butt cheeks. My thighs stuck out a mile, and I tried covering them up by tying a jacket or shirt around my waste so it would hang over my thighs. I couldn’t run easily because of my weight and asthma. The other kids used to tease me and laugh at me, and I felt like such an outcast. I hated being me. I hated the fact I inherited the “fat” gene and that no matter what new diet I tried, I would lose a few pounds and put it right back on, plus some. During my “honeymoon” period (first six months after surgery) I had to learn a new eating “lifestyle.” It was definitely a learning process, that’s for sure. Once I was able to eat solid foods, I had to try different things to see what my new pouch would tolerate. My surgeons warned me that certain foods might cause “dumping,” which is rapid gastric emptying, also known as dumping syndrome. The total weight I actually lost was 155 pounds! Researchers are finding that 30 percent of weight loss surgery patients have stopped overeating but wind up acquiring a new compulsive disorder such as alcoholism, gambling addiction, compulsive shopping, drugs, promiscuity, or started smoking. Some psychologists describe it as a type of “addiction transfer,” an outcome of substance-abuse treatment where the patient swaps one compulsive behavior for another. The behavior has long been explained as a psychological phenomenon as patients seek new strategies for filling an inner void. Within one month of me having gastric bypass surgery, my endocrinologist asked me to come in for testing for the lumps in my neck. He referred me to a specialist who will conduct biopsies. When I went in to see my endo, she informed me that I have thyroid cancer (malignant) and I will have to have a surgery called a total thyroidectomy. On August 3, I saw my hematologist. He went over my blood work and informed me that my blood levels are low and that a blood transfusion would help me feel better. I would notice a difference within two to three days. He also told me my iron levels were extremely low and I will need to have Iron Infusions every day for the first week, then weekly. Then as time goes by, he’ll adjust how often I get the iron (based on my weekly lab results). My B-12 levels were also extremely low, so I will start B-12 shots weekly at first then go to monthly thereafter.
Jennifer was born in Okinawa, Japan and currently lives in Roseville, California . When Jennifer was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1987, she began writing a journal. Throughout the next 9 years, she has dealt with a string of other health issues, such as: obesity, gastric bypass surgery, thyroid cancer, and severe anemia. She had to live through all of these ordeals to finish her book. Now she is sharing with you the "patients perspective" on things you possibly might go through, not just what the doctors tell you. Through writing her book, she has become an inspirational & motivational speaker and is also in the Executive/Management field and will continue writing self-help, inspirational, motivational & spiritual books. Jennifer enjoys being a single Mom to her beautiful daughter and often frequents Starbucks to enjoy a chai latte & people watch. Her mission in life has, is and always will be to help others in any way she possibly can.